Training TANGO and CORKY ~ Training PRETZEL

Saturday, June 1, 2013

We arrived last night to Maumee, Ohio (Toledo) for the dog show. This is a very small, laid-back show. I wore one of my new summer dog show outfits that my sister picked out (we had a great shopping trip last month!). I am getting the hang of this skirt thing, it's not so bad once you get used to it! Yeah, it might turn me into a lady someday LOL!

We were the only dog in the 12-18 month class, went back in Winners dog against one other dog (who happened to be Pretzel's best friend Brennen) and won. We got nothing in best of breed, not even best of winners wince there wasn't a bitch winner at the show to compete against. However, we did earn one more single point. If we get another win tomorrow, we will have "singled out", meaning we earned all the single points required for our championship and only need one more major to complete it.

This show had an Owner/Handler series, and being the only one entered with a Weimaraner, I automatically qualified to go on to O/H group later that day. We waited forever in that hot building. Pretzel was exhausted after playing so hard with his buddies, and the heat zapped him. We didn't show our best (I stacked him a bit too spread out - my bad habit!) but I did get a video (shot on my NEW phone named Jarvis!) for your viewing amusement.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Today was a carbon copy of yesterday in regards to showing. The good news is we singled out!. We should now have 12 points, if AKC counted everything correctly. The bad news is we singled out!. This means we need a major, and we need it quickly. Our next show in 2 weeks is Troy, and there should be 4 Weimaraner majors at that show. Majors are hard to win, especially for Pretzel and I (we have many strikes against us). We are going to try really hard, practice a bunch, and hope for the best!

There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work and learning from failure. - Colin Powell

Monday, June 3, 2013

Back to making Tango a priority this week...we have a show coming up this weekend and I really hope to work through his fear of cantering with other horses. Our ride today was NOT very good. Canter transitions went backwards and were ugly again today, and his canters were not nice and flat and round...they were very up and down and archy. Oh well...we will keep working this week. This horse definitely has good and bad days.

On a fun note, Corky will be coming out of retirement this weekend to help teach my dog show friend the ropes of showing showmanship. She will take her in youth halter and showmanship at the show...Corky loves showmanship! I hope they do well, it will be fun to have someone else showing Corky. I will also take her in showmanship, I cannot resist! Time to dust off my showmanship stuff!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Well, my summer is off to a great start. Just as I got Tango all saddled up to ride this morning, he leaped sideways and broke my big toe, and possibly the toe next to it. It hurt so bad that I passed out...never a good thing when you are in the barn alone! As crazy as I am, I made myself go ahead and ride to make sure I could. I rode for about 10 minutes...cantering to the right was excruciating on that toe for some reason. I am determined that nothing is going to stop me from my show plans this weekend. I have goals to reach, dangit! I am really worried, not only about the horse show this weekend but the big dog show next weekend. Why does this have to happen right at the start of summer?

Because of my stupid toe, I had to miss agility class since I can't walk very well. Tomorrow I have to ride and get things ready for the show, no matter what...

Pretzel lays by my side in sympathy while I soak my foot in ice water. He was very worried when he sensed how much pain I was in. What a good, loyal dog!
Thursday, June 6, 2013

I cut the toe out of an old paddock boot and it worked great as a riding boot for broken toes. I had to go out and ride and see how it would be, and also get Tango worked and school his transitions. His transitions were spotty, and he decided to invert a few times and cause a mini-battle between us. I am happy to say I did win, but the torque on my toes was pretty awful. BUT, it was livable. I've handled worse, so I think this weekend will be OK for showing. Riding was actually easier than walking...showmanship might be a problem.

Friday, June 7, 2013

I got up early and gave both Corky and Tango baths.Corky was really dirty, she hasn't had a bath since last summer. It took me forever to load my stuff in the trailer, my toes are KILLING me and the pressure underneath my big toenail is excruciating.

I loaded Tango first and all went well. I loaded Corky behind him, and all hell broke loose. I realized that Tango has never been loaded with another horse! He FLIPPED out, started rearing and kicking the trailer walls. Poor Corky didn't know what to think. I rushed into the truck and took off. I figured either he would settle down with the drive, and if not then I would turn around once I got to the highway. Luckily he finally did settle down once we started driving.

I got to the showgrounds and unloaded slowly. My haybag was a casualty of Tango's temper tantrum...he tore it when he reared up. He had no hay on the drive, I guess that was his punishment. he was pretty calm by the time we arrived, so I got him out to longe and ride. The arena was dug up extremely deep for the speed classes tonight, so he could barely trot through it. I was mindful of his tendons as I remembered when Corky pulled her tendons working in deep stuff at a show back in 2008, so all I did was walk him around to see the arena and then put him away.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

I got up early to longe both horses. My dog show youth pal was here to show Corky in halter and showmanship. She kept our halter tradition alive by getting last place in her halter classes (I think Corky has only beaten one horse in halter in her lifetime!). Showmanship went pretty well - she did great for her very first time showing horses (she is a quick study!). My showmanship patterns were decent, but in watching the video later I realized how much polish and snap I have lost in the few years I have been absent from the show ring. My free arm looked sloppy, and where was my crispness that I worked so hard to get? Yikes....glad I have the video to learn from. Of course the broken toes did not help. Showmanship was hard on them!

I came up with a great way to be able to show with broken toes. I had a regular English boot on my right leg, and wore the cut-out black paddock boot with a black sock and a half chap on the left foot. From a distance it was hardly noticeable!

Unfortunately my showmanship was the last class before break, and then the open GHUS was the first class after break. Even though I ran to change and saddle, I still only had time to do a couple laps on Tango in the arena before break ended and I had to go in the show ring. Things did NOT go well in that class. He immediately started raising his head, inverted a few times, was completely distracted. Corky did not help matters -she was whinneying to him from the barn and he started whinneying back, and that just snowballed. Tango had NO focus! Same thing happened in our second class. I decided to enter a walk-trot class later in the afternoon, and that class went a LOT better because I had time to ride him beforehand and bend him. That seems to be the key - lots of bending circles and giving to the bridle before the class to keep him focused.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

My morning started off pretty much the same. Corky did well for both Shelby and I in showmanship, I rushed to get ready for the HUS. I was slightly more prepared so I got about 6 laps around the arena before it was time to show. Unfortunately the class went pretty much the same way as it did yesterday - it wasn't pretty! Before my next class I did a lot of bending and schooling in the makeup arena, and our second class went WAY better! I also had moved Corky to another stall in a different aisle last night, and although she whinnied once and got his attention it wasn't as bad as yesterday. I also prepared by having someone toss her some food right when I started showing Tango. Preparation is the key - I need to get back into the habit of thinking and considering every element.

I will say that Tango was WAY different than he was at Marysville 2 weeks ago. He was much more distracted and interested in things going on outside of the ring, and actually spooked several times at people and objects outside the fence. However, he was not worried about horse cantering around him in the pen (though the show was so small, this never really became an issue). My only guess is maybe it was because this time he was focused outside the ring rather than inside...and personally I prefer to have it the other way. I can control what happens in the ring for the most part, but not outside!

Just for fun, here is a short video montage of some of Tango's silly moments caught on video:

Here is a video montage of some of his better moments (all taken from the last class on Sunday when he finally got it all together):

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

My toes are starting to feel better. I find I am now waaaay more cautious when working around tango on the ground. He is just so silly sometimes, and has no respect for personal space. I think this all comes from being an orphan. His nursemare Oreo allowed him to nurse, but basically ignored him and did NO mothering, so he never learned how to respect space at a young age. I am sure Taylor would have done a great job with him...*sigh*...just one more regret in a sea of regrets.

After another mini-fight with Tango inverting his head right at the beginning of the ride, we had a pretty good ride and his transitions were halfway decent. It was a HOT day, probably the first really hot and humid day of the summer. He took a bit of pushing, but we did get some nicer transitions where he framed up and rounded before taking off into the canter, so that was nice.

Now I am trying to decide where to go from here. Another open show for practice? Try a paint show? Not sure...

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Today Pretzel and I leave for the dog show in Troy, Ohio. Tomorrow is a Weimaraner specialty, and there are two shows and both are majors (too bad the weekend shows didn't end up being majors). I am really really hopeful that we get one of those majors and finish our championship. It will be a neat place to finish. One year ago I took pretzel as a puppy (after only having him a few weeks) and we went on Friday to watch the show and learn. I remember sitting on the grass with him across from the ring watching everyone show and having no clue as to what they were doing. It's funny that the people I watched show have now become very good friends and mentors of mine. To think I was only going to try to show a show or two and that was it. Who knew I would get so deeply into it? Oh yeah, I guess deep down inside I probably knew. I tend to go full-bore into everything I do. Well, wish us luck tomorrow, we are going to need it!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Weimaraner Specialties and Sweepstakes - Troy, OH

Today's show had two Weimaraner specialties and sweepstakes and both regular point classes were majors, so I have two shots at it. First thing in the morning was the Columbus Weimaraner Club Weimaraner Sweepstakes. Pretzel won his age group, and then we went in to compete with the other winners for Best in Sweepstakes, and we won! That was pretty exciting, and gave me a lot of hope for the point classes coming up. We went right back in for our regular AKC class, against many of the same dogs, and this judge (a different one than the one who judged the sweeps) put us near the points. *sigh*, just goes to show how different judges can see the same dogs and place them completely opposite.

Next in the afternoon was the Greater Cincinnati Weimaraner Club sweeps and classes. We couldn't seem to capitalize on our early morning success, ended up 3rd in the sweeps and out of the points in our regular class. No major win for us this weekend, unfortunately. Disappointing!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

AKC Show - Troy, Ohio

The rest of the weekend was just short of a major, but we paid our entry fees so we were showing! Today we ended up reserve winners dog. I was pretty happy that a pro handler (one who had seen me show a few times earlier in the winter) saw me show and complimented me on how much I have improved. Yay...progress!

I talked to a few people, and it looks like the next potential major is in Monroe, Michigan at the beginning of July. I didn't plan on hitting that show, but looks like I will have to. I have already entered Lima in 2 weeks, I'll be danged if I don't show in my own home I am showing! After that, who knows? Having to hunt down majors is a real pain in the butt. It's nuts that people think although I paid all those expensive entry fees, if it doesn't turn out to be a major I am just supposed to eat those fees and not show. Why? I am new to this, I need the practice, I love showing, and I cannot afford to throw away money weekend after weekend entering shows that I don't show at. The whole idea of not showing at single point shows when you need a major is dumb, and I don't really agree.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

AKC Show - Troy, Ohio

Here was a new experience - it was pouring rain all night and all morning. Dog showing in the rain...yikes! My broken toes are screaming in pain, but I managed to squeeze my cleats on. Good thing, since the grass was soaking wet and slippery. Today we ended up Winners Dog. the show ended up being pretty small since many opted out of showing because of the rain. Not me! Horse showing has taught me to show in all sorts of weather!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Two weeks ago I broke my toes. They are still swollen, the big toenail has lifted and is about ready to come off, and icky brown/red stuff is oozing out from underneath. Pretty gross! I rode Tango in the morning. I was debating on going to a show on Saturday. He rode great! Transitions were really decent for a change, and he rode very easy and relaxed. There is a paint show in Swanton this weekend. I am considering going on Saturday and showing in the solid bred paint HUS classes. I have asked around but no one can tell me if any other solids will be there. I hate to spend all that time and money to be the only one in the class. Oh, what to do, what to do?

Friday, June 21, 2013

Well, once again real life got in the way. After two sold days of work, I just had zero time to really prepare tango for the paint show this weekend. I rode him tonight, he rode really well 9which of course made me regret my decision to stay home), but I would have had to pull an all-nighter to get him washed and braided before the show tomorrow morning. maybe next time...

Monday, June 24, 2013

Pretzel and I had a really fun weekend - we went with some friends to a golf course in Pennsylvania and let the dogs run. They had a blast!!! This was a family-owned golf course in the hills of central PA, and being as isolated as it was it was a perfect place to turn a horde of Weimaraners loose. Check out the pictures HERE!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

I rode Tango yesterday and today, even though the heat and humidity were stifling. Yesterday was a worse ride - transitions were awful and I had to really get after him to make him canter, and it took half the arena to get him into it. VERY frustrating! Today was a little better, he was better in cantering off but it still took longer that I would like and it wasn't pretty by any means. I can't believe it is almost July and I am still lamenting over the same issues - transitions, transitions, transitions! When will I see consistent improvement? Will it ever happen? Days like today make me feel like a complete failure as a trainer. I got everything going well, but this one piece of the puzzle is just not working out for us no matter what I try.

Take two on the horse show plans, hopefully I am going to take him on July 4th to a local open show and get him in several classes to practice. Then if all goes well next month, we will aim for the Paint show in Indiana at the end of July. Next Thursday (July 4th) will be a crazy day - horse show all day, and then I rush home, shower, and head to Monroe, Michigan for the 4 major dogs shows...this is Pretzel's chance to become a champion!

Friday, June 28 - Sunday, June 30, 2013

Lima Dog Show

I had a full weekend, full of ups and downs. This was an important weekend because it is my chance to really focus and practice on getting our act together before the majors in Michigan next weekend, plus the dog show is in my own hometown where my friends can come! I learned several things at this show - my confidence and show ring presence has improved greatly, and there are rude people at dog shows just as there are at horse shows, only I am a bit too intimidated to really stand up for myself here, much to my regret.

I bought some (ick) liver treats to use as bait this weekend. I have a lot of trouble getting Pretzel to free stack on bait - he just isn't that food-oriented to stay interested in a little piece of meat in my hand. The liver seemed to work well when I tried it on Saturday, but Sunday he seemed a bit bored with it already. It could be because it was pouring rain on Sunday, and we were both cold and wet and just wanted to get out of the weather. The judge Sunday (Mr. Houston Clark) really liked Pretzel. Although we didn't get winners dog, he told me he liked his side gait and would be a really nice dog once he filled out ("sprung" his rib cage?) and matured a bit. I really appreciate the judges who take the time to tell you their opinion. Doing this on my own means half the time I am floundering blindly and have no real idea of how we look when we are gaiting and stacking.

Well, this week I need to practice getting his head UP while gaiting, moving out, and stacking straight. This coming weekend I have FOUR majors, FOUR shots at finishing his championship. I really really hope we can do it. It would be nice to accomplish something good this year!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Well, after griping about transitions not improving, today I worked Tango and his transitions were halfway decent. Lawdy, give me a consistent horse please! It's hard to figure him out. I haven't ridden him since Thursday so I expected him to be squirrelly...especially since it was rainy and COLD outside. instead he had a pleasant amount of energy and decent transitions. Go figure!

On the agenda - an open show on the 4th of July this Thursday. Lots of classes to get him in and get things worked out. I work solidly this week, so won't have a lot of time to work him at home but I think we will be OK. We shall see!

On to July...